The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has been accused of frustrating the National Single Window project designed to expedite cargo clearance process at the nation’s ports.
The National Single Window is a platform meant to integrate all agencies involved in the clearance of cargoes at the ports with a view to easing the inspection calculation and payment of all import duties, levies and other charges on line.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi made the accusation during the inauguration of the Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence System, a marine operation and surveillance centre, at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Lagos.
Speaking to representatives of the Controller General of the NCS, he said: “Please the Comptroller General of Customs has to agree and the Customs needs to be connected to the NSW to make our ports more effective. All we are doing now is manual; it will not last for long.
“Very soon Nigerians will protest against the seaports. People are already importing through Benin republic. Everyone has a single window. Niger which used to import things through Nigeria is doing so through another country. This is because we are charging both official and unofficial charges. Goods in Nigeria are too expensive.”
National Single Window is a cross-government website for trade facilitation. It offers a single portal for trade actors, both Nigerian and international business community to access a full range of resources and standardised services from different Nigerian government agencies.
Expressing his pleasure at the development of Nigeria’s port operational system, Amaechi noted that the development of the CCCIS facility began in 2013.
He said the aim was to provide business intelligence for the movement of vessels and cargoes, as well as providing secured communications within our waterways.
“This is one of the positive responses to the dynamics of port modernisation. The infrastructure comprises of long and short range video surveillance monitoring systems which are in line with the International Maritime Organisation Conventions for the safety of life at sea.
“The development and installation of the CCCIS by the NPA will in no small way promote the rating of our ports by the IMO,” Amaechi added.
The Managing Director of the NPA, Ms. Hadiza Usman had earlier said the CCCIS had been developed to cover maritime activities in the six ports and four pilotage districts.
She said: “This project will incorporate other port automotive devices like the Vessel Traffic System and the Integrated Port Community Information System.
The ultimate goal is to establish an automated single window system for the maritime industry. It would enable us to surmount security and safety challenges within our operations and the entire maritime domain in the Gulf of Guinea.”
Usman added that the NPA would in the future ensure synergy and collaboration amongst relevant agencies such as Customs and the Nigeria Navy for the purpose of sharing information, documentation, as well as blocking revenue leakages.